The affected population in Yemen hardly receives any relief supplies due to the poor condition of the ports. This came in a report written by the Rotterdam Port Authority on behalf of the United Nations (United Nations Development Program) and the Dutch Companies Agency.
The war that has raged in Yemen since 2015 has caused massive damage to ports, causing their capacity to drop sharply. While 90 percent of the goods enter the country through the ports. In addition, capacity decreased sharply due to a lack of maintenance at the ports, due to a lack of specialized knowledge.
In 2019 and at the end of last year, Rotterdam Port Authority employees conducted a damage and capacity analysis in the ports of Aden, Hodeidah, Saleef, Ras Issa and Mukalla. In their report, they say that the war and problems at the ports are leading to significant delays in the delivery of relief supplies and higher prices for those supplies. Due to the recession, but also due to corruption, food, fuel and medicine are becoming increasingly scarce.
An estimated 50,000 Yemenis are starving. There is a shortage of food, but along with that, food has become too expensive for many people. The United Nations fears that more than 16 million people in Yemen will face hunger this year, more than half of the population.
“Because of the lack of infrastructure in Yemen, the cargo ships must now be unloaded in Saudi Arabia or Djibouti where the shipment is examined, and only then will the goods be transported to Yemen, and this means doubling the transportation costs per container of relief supplies,” says Oak Lutsma, Coordinator United Development in Yemen. ”In addition, shipping companies pay very high insurance premiums. Because of the war, premiums are sixteen times higher than those at other ports.
According to the Rotterdam Port Authority report, more ships could unload their relief supplies safely and faster if the investment was made in repairing and maintaining the affected ports. Spare parts and specialist knowledge are also required.
But the ports are controlled by various parties, including dangerous areas. So recovery is not a safe business, says reporter Daisy Mohr. “Anyone who initiates this will need some kind of security guarantee. In this conflict it is not easy, of course.”
Moreover, the recovery is not the only stumbling block. “Some ports have been closed for a long time under the leadership of Saudi Arabia. For example, fuel and food are not entering the country. These ports are of course crucial for Yemen, as there has been a war for years and the airports certainly do not always function.”
With the conclusions contained in the Rotterdam report, the United Nations will ask authorities to reduce food import costs and facilitate the attraction of knowledge and skills. Funds are also raised through the UN donor countries for specialized knowledge and spare parts, among others.